Provinces rush to ensure energy supply for winter heating
Published: Nov 26, 2023 08:24 PM
Nuclear power heating station in Haiyang, East China's Shandong Province Photo: Courtesy of SPIC

Nuclear power heating station in Haiyang, East China's Shandong Province Photo: Courtesy of SPIC

As winter temperatures dip, many Chinese provinces are stepping up efforts to increase energy supplies for heating, by producing more coal, ensure transport capacity while ramp up nuclear power generation as a clean energy for heating.

Since early October, local governments and enterprises have worked together to increase coal supplies and stabilize prices. Coal output nationwide has reached daily maximum output of 11.93 million tons, the highest level in years, the China Media Group reported.

And, nationwide coal inventories are kept at a high level, laying a solid foundation for winter heating, said Zhang Hong, a spokesperson for the China National Coal Association.

As of end-October, coal-fired power plants had about 202 million tons of coal in storage, up by 9 million tons from a month ago and a rise of about 28 million tons on a yearly basis. Plants had a record level of 34 days' worth of coal on hand, data from the association showed.

From January to October, China's output of coal, crude oil and natural gas grew steadily, official data showed. 

Coal mines produced 390 million tons of coal in October alone, up 3.8 percent year-on-year. Imports were also at a high level. From January to October, China imported 380 million tons of coal, up 66.8 percent year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Coal miners are also making good use of intelligent technologies. At one of the largest open mines, operated by China Huaneng Group Co, autonomous electric trucks are seen carrying out loading and unloading. The trucks can work in all types of weather, replacing human labor entirely.

"We have produced more than 31.68 million tons of coal so far this year, an increase of 368,500 tons on a yearly basis, and transported 20.07 million tons, up 130,200 tons year-on-year. Our cumulative power generation exceeded 17 billion kilowatt-hours," Zheng An, production director of the mine, was quoted as saying by China Media Group.

In Yulin, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, a subsidiary of China National Coal Group Corp, is using intelligence recognition technology for the first time in the industry. Each person gets a comprehensive status check before each shift, measuring their facial expression, pulse, body temperature and other conditions. The process can determine if the person is fit for work.

Coal shipments from railways to ports have steadily increased in recent months.

Daqin Railway, a major coal artery in northern China, moved 350.07 million tons of coal from January to October, up 12.24 million tons from a year earlier.

And, the role of nuclear power as a clean energy source for heating is expanding. On Saturday, China's first cross-prefecture-level nuclear energy heating project, the State Power Investment Corp's third phase of "Warm Nuclear No 1," a commercial nuclear energy heating project in China, was put into operation in East China's Shandong Province.

The total heating area of the project will reach 12.5 million square meters this winter season, which will keep about 400,000 people warm.

Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang called for ramped-up efforts to secure the nation's energy supply and ensure winter heating during a recent meeting.

Measures should be taken to ensure the steady production and supply of coal and natural gas, by supporting enterprises to increase production and supply, while increasing imports, the meeting was told. 

Global Times